The open source project Moodle HQ is announcing the release of Moodle 3.4. It is the first outcome of a long internal process, of leveraging the vast number of powerful functions and customization options, into a friendlier and more modern face that resonates better with users.
Moodle 3.4 features 16 new or improved capabilities to improve the responsiveness and workflow of users in all roles or specific ones. But before getting into details…
How To Get Moodle 3.4
Download the latest version of Moodle here: download.moodle.org/releases/latest.
If you know your way around Git, you can also “clone” it following these instructions.
If you do not have an admin role in your institution’s Moodle site, ask your administrator about the planned availability of Moodle 3.4.
Over the week Moodle 3.4 is expected to feature across MoodleCloud sites. If your Moodle is serviced through a Moodle Partner, contact them about their upgrade.
The Moodle Mobile apps should be ready within two weeks.
Services bundling Moodle into development “stacks”, like Bitnami, should also be upgrading to Moodle 3.4 soon.
The first visible result of the introspective, user-first era Moodle HQ is embarking on is the new Calendar interface. Result of the Moodle Users Association project development cycle, it offers a rejuvenated interface to keep pace with the modern calendar clients out there. Many of the features were already visible in the prototype version, only now should be more polished. But two stand out above them: The Event Manager, which displays a pop-up window to set the event’s details; and event Drag-and-drop between dates between months, or hours in the day view.
A close second is the Analytics functionality, result of another ongoing process, namely Project Inspire. For Moodle 3.4, two built-in predictors are available: “Students at risk of dropping out” and courses with “No teaching activity.” For the drop-out predictor, a predictive engine can be reinforced and customized for custom scenarios.
The predictive engine requires a training set, and PHP 7. It can be powered up by installing the Python programming language. Moodle Analytics can also be extended and used in plugins, thanks to the Analytics API for developers. The Analytics model and functionality continues to be an area of development, and is continuously open to new datasets submitted by organizations for a more encompassing learning.
Word of caution: The Moodle documentation referenced below is a work in progress.
- User and enrollment management: A unified and comprehensive panel offers extended editing of users choices and enrollment status, and many different sorting, filtering and navigation options. It ends the distinction between participants and enrolled users for good.
- More complete navigation cues: A re-thinking of user flows has allowed for more buttons across Moodle pages, to make the experience make more sense and be faster. Expert more “Jump to” dropdowns across the site.
- File type restriction: Previously available on Moodle Mobile, teachers can specify the format files in which an assignment can be sent.
- Remaining available space indicator for your private files, displayed in the upload pages.
- Override activity completion on behalf of students, for complete or incomplete activities, including automatic completion.
- Moodle Mobile integration: Once enabled mobile access, a message now notify users when an activity is available on the app, and a persistent link on the footer is available in the default theme.
- Filters for use tours: use categories, course formats and specific courses as criteria to launch user tours.
- Automatic conversion of external content to HTTPS.
- Option to require email verification when signing up through OAuth 2 (Using authentication profiles from Google, Microsoft, et al.)
- Global search expanded to offer the ability to show courses and activities, even if the user is not enrolled in them.
- Tagging individual database entries.
- New “Manage Tokens” settings page for granular control of permissions by individual user type.
- Cleaner site registration page to access resources from Moodle.net directly, and help the census of Moodle sites around the world.
Upgrades to previous versions of Moodle are also released
- Moodle 3.3.3 brings improvements in Assignments (due date shown in calendar), LTI (key and secret backup and restore), File upload (progress bar in default “Boost” theme) and custom roles (option to filter by participant badge).
- Moodle 3.2.6 receives its last general upgrade, with most of the same features from Moodle 3.3.3. Security fixes will be available until next May.
- Moodle 3.1.9, Long Terms Support (LTS) version receives only security fixes. The last update is expected for May 2019.
All the videos
9 videos in a “Moodle 3.4 Release Highlights” go into extra detail on the new and enhanced features, available here:
Moodle 3.4 needs the following or higher versions of the selected database engine. The latest version is always the official recommendation:
- PostgreSQL 9.3
- MySQL 5.5.31
- MariaDB 5.5.31
- Microsoft SQL Server 2008
- Oracle Database 10.2
Moodle 3.4 has been tested for the Firefox, Chrome, Safari (above 7), Edge and Internet Explorer (above 10) on desktop, and Safari and Chrome on mobile.
Complete Moodle 3.4 release notes at docs.moodle.org. It includes upgrade instructions for plugin developers.
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